Friday, April 3, 2015

Placing New Plants, Starting Seeds, and Waiting

Yesterday, I finally planted some of the things we bought at the Plantasia sale.  (Well!  I know I ought to have already done that, but we've been busy with other things!)

The confederate rose went in the larger "new" bed, not too far from the viburnum we planted last year.  It should get plenty of sun, there, and be on full display, if it turns out as well as hoped.  (Tag: "Double flowers that open white, turn pink and then red summer to fall.")

The false indigo (baptisia) is in the same bed, between the confederate rose and a red "Knock Out" rose.  Unless my eyes deceive me, there are flower buds already in evidence.  I'm surprised.  It's supposed to be so large-- and it has so far to go to get to that size... I didn't expect flowers so soon.

My haphazard way being as it is, of course it seemed that the only right place for the false indigo was right where I'd planted a tiny volunteer azalea Mom gave me, earlier this spring.  I dug it out and gave it a new place in front of the garage.  Maybe it'll be happy there.  I'm sure its satisfaction with life will increase if I can resist the impulse to keep dragging it from place to place.

The red Mexican ruellia is also in the same bed, closer to the front, since it's a smaller plant.  It's already about to bloom!

The last potted plant I placed was the Mexican purple sage.  At the sale, it was sold as a perennial, but I'm not sure how cold-hardy it will actually be (based on what I see online).  I'd forgotten how large it's supposed to grow-- 3-5 feet tall, according to the tag.  I put it in the flower bed on the side of the circular rock bed (which is over the septic tank).  The description of the flowers is intriguing:  "Spikes of hot pinkish purple flowers in late fall are a focal point in the garden."  Can we wait until late fall?!

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I also distributed a few seeds.  Moss rose (portulaca) in some small pots.  A few marigold seeds tucked here and there.  And one seed packet that I'm very interested in-- Thunbergia, black-eyed susan vine.  I was a bit disappointed to discover how stingy they were with the seeds.  (Fewer than ten seeds in the pack!  Sheesh.)  But maybe they're so easy to grow that each one is guaranteed to sprout into a luxurious bower of beauty.  ;o)  I planted them; now to wait.

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Last year, I was late planting some of my seeds.  The black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and purple coneflower (Echinacea) were among them, and though there were some leaves, there weren't many-- and that was it.  I wasn't even sure which one it was that put up leaves!

When autumn came, I went ahead and stuck them in the flower beds, just in case, not sure whether to expect them to return, or not.  Well, after I'd all but forgotten them, several of them have put up new leaves this year!  I guess that tells me that they are coneflowers, right?  Because the Rudbeckia I planted is an annual and could only have come back if it had reseeded (which of course it couldn't have done, without blooming). 

I'll be keeping a close eye on those mystery leaves.  Even though I'm pretty sure I know what they are, I'm still curious.  Will they bloom this year?  I haven't been thrilled with the success rate of the Echinacea seeds I planted earlier this spring, so I hope the ones from last year can get established.

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Another plant I'm keeping my eagle-eye on is the passionflower vine.  We planted it last spring, about mid-April.  The soil in that spot is not the best, but we amended it with mulch-dirt, and the passionflower seemed very comfortable all summer.  It grew and grew-- and bloomed.  When the cold weather came, it lost its leaves, as expected, and the vines all looked so mold-spotted and bone-dry that I cut it back to just six inches or so above ground.

This variety is supposed to be extremely cold-hardy, and our winter wasn't that bad, so we have every reason to expect it to return.  Only it hasn't, yet, and I can't seem to find a definitive answer as to when they usually put out new growth.  I fully expected to see leaves by now, but I can't believe it's gone kaput-- not after the crazy health of last summer.

Waiting is difficult!